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Saltwater Creek to South Beach - #TimaruCycleTrails

  Grade: All Abilities

Time: 1hr 45 Minutes 

Users: Walkers/Dogs/Runners


Take a snapshot of the best that Timaru has to offer on this popular bike trail. Starting from the historic Centennial Park Reserve, cyclists enjoy pleasant rural views, travel through extensive native planting projects along the creek and into Otipua Wetlands and bike along our beautiful coastal track to enjoy expansive Pacific Ocean views.

Otipua Wetlands can be seen beside State Highway One. The area the Saltwater Creek spans was once a 60-70 hectare historic entrapped lagoon. The Otipua Wetland Charitable Trust was formed in 1997 and over 30,000 volunteer hours have been spent by the local community in creating a significant wetland habitat for native flora and fauna including birds and lizards.

Basalt Lava Rock Walls were formed by the flow of the local volcano Mt Horrible, the South Island's youngest volcano, which erupted about 2 million years ago. It produced a sheet of lava, about 5 metres thick, that flowed over about 130 square kilometres.

Patiti Point has historical significance as the first European settlement in Timaru known as Peeress Town. The beach was originally used as a sheltered landing area for whalers, protected by the Patiti reef system.

The Port of Timaru (PrimePort) is South Canterbury’s only port and dominates the region. It is a major distribution hub for the area.
Timaru owes its size and prosperity to its port. Initially, ships anchored in the shelter of basalt reefs. Their goods were carried ashore by boats and offloaded in a landing service (a large shed). The first landing service was opened in 1858 at the bottom of Strathallan Street. It was bought by the government in the mid-1860s and used for the first shipment of wool direct to England. The landing services building now houses the Timaru Visitor Centre, Te Ana Ngai Tahu Maori Rock Art Centre and Speight's Ale House bar and restaurant.

By the late 1860s Timaru’s leaders initiated plans for an artificial harbour to provide wharves and a safe haven for ships. Work began in 1878 with the construction of the 700-metre southern breakwater. In the late 1880s, the north breakwater was built to keep sand shoals out of the harbour. Between 1899 and 1906 the eastern extension of the main breakwater was completed, preventing shingle drifting north into the harbour. During the 20th century the breakwaters were extended, realigned and raised.

Today the Port of Timaru is a major South Island distribution hub.

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